NEW YORK—Cynthia Weil, a Grammy-winning lyricist of notable range and endurance who enjoyed a decades-long partnership with husband Barry Mann and helped write “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “On Broadway,” “Walking in the Rain,” and dozens of other hits, has died at age 82.
Weil’s daughter, Dr. Jenn Mann, said that the songwriter died Thursday at her home in Beverly Hills, California, “surrounded by her family.” Mann, the couple’s only child, declined to cite a specific cause of death.
Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, married in 1961, were one of popular music’s most successful teams, part of a remarkable ensemble recruited by impresarios Don Kirshner and Al Nevins and based in Manhattan’s Brill Building neighborhood, a few blocks from Times Square. With such hit-making combinations as Carole King and Gerry Goffin and Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, the Brill Building song factory turned out many of the biggest singles of the 1960s and beyond.
“I grew up around a lot of music and two incredible, brilliant, creative geniuses,” Jenn Mann said. “My parents inspired each other to write great songs. My mom always said that when things were good they had each other, and when things weren’t as good they had their music.”
Weil and Mann were key collaborators with producer Phil Spector on songs for the Ronettes (“Walking in the Rain”), the Crystals (“He’s Sure the Boy I Love”) and other performers, and also provided hits for everyone from Dolly Parton to Hanson. “Somewhere Out There,” a collaboration with James Horner for the soundtrack of “An American Tail,” won Grammys in 1987 for best song and best song for a movie or television, and was nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe. “Don’t Know Much,” a Linda Ronstadt-Aaron Neville duet they helped write, was a top 5 hit that won a best pop performance Grammy in 1990.
Their most famous song, a work of history overall, was “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” an anthem of “blue-eyed soul” produced by Spector as if scoring a tragedy and sung with desperate fury by the Righteous Brothers. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” topped the charts in 1965 and was covered by numerous other artists. According to Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), no other song was played more on radio and television in the 20th century.
Weil and Mann were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, with King introducing them at the Rock Hall ceremony. Mann and Weil were supporting characters in the hit Broadway musical about King, “Beautiful,” which opened in 2013 and documented the intense friendship and rivalry between the two married couples. Mann and Weil’s musical “They Wrote That?” had a brief run in 2004.
“Cynthia’s high professional standard made us all better songwriters. My favorite Cynthia lyric is, “Just a little lovin’ early in the mornin’ beats a cup of coffee for startin’ out the day,‘” King wrote on her social media accounts Friday, quoting from the Mann-Weil ballad “Just a Little Lovin,‘” covered by Dusty Springfield among others.
“If we’re lucky, we know this is true, but she wrote it—and then she rhymed ‘mornin’’ with ‘yawnin’’ in the next verse. May the legacy of lyrics by Cynthia Weil continue to speak to and for generations to come.”
Weil, the daughter of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, was born in New York City and studied piano and ballet as a child. She majored in theater at Sarah Lawrence College, but was encouraged by an agent to try songwriting.